Romulus My Father and Tintern Abbey

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Through the passage of time both within our own lives as well as throughout a broader historical context, our attitudes toward belonging adjust. It is through the embracement or rejection of these adjustments to our relationships with the others, the world and our own self that our experience of belonging is enriched or limited. Thus a sense of belonging or not belonging can determine our attitudes and values throughout the entire course of our lives. This can be seen within Raimond Gaita’s 1998 memoir ‘Romulus my Father’ and William Wordsworth’s 1978 poem ‘Tintern Abbey’ as they search through their past and discover their own individual sense of acceptance to their story and their world.

The 1998 reflective memoir ‘Romulus my Father’ is a written testimony to Raimond Gaita’s father after his death, and a journey of self-discovery as he recollects the many memories he shared with his father upon migration to Australia. It offers the contrasting perspectives; those of his parents which identified feelings of anxiety and isolation upon having to adjust to the harsh barren landscape of Australia during the 1950’s, and that of young Gaita’s affiliation to the natural scenery. Similarly, William Wordsworth in his 1798 blank verse poem ‘Tintern Abbey’ travels through the passage of time in the recollection of an old Abbey five years later to revive his spirits, emphasising the Romantic’s values of love, nature and the imagination. As he reflects on the landscape of the Abbey and its surroundings his feelings of comfort and peacefulness resurface, yet so do new feelings of sorrow at the fragmented recollection of his past. Both texts illustrate the inextricable link between nature and man - through the passage of time our link with the natural world is strengthened and in conjunction so is our sense of belonging, the rejection or weakening of this link will develop barriers to belonging

Gaita’s memoir ‘Romulus, My Father’ reflects the challenging complexity of...
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